Hearing loss is generally accepted as just another part of getting older: as we get older, we start to hear things a little less clearly. Perhaps we start turning up the volume on the TV or keep asking our grandchildren to speak up when they’re talking to us, or maybe we begin forgetting things?
Memory loss is also normally regarded as a normal part of aging as dementia and Alzheimer’s are much more widespread in the senior citizen population than in the younger population at large. But what if the two were somehow related? And is it possible to protect your mental health and treat hearing loss at the same time?
The link between cognitive decline and hearing loss
Most individuals don’t connect hearing loss with mental decline and dementia. But if you look in the right places, you will discover a clear link: if you’re experiencing hearing loss, even at low levels, studies have revealed there’s a significant risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
Mental health issues like anxiety and depression are also fairly prevalent in individuals who have hearing loss. Your ability to socialize is affected by cognitive decline, mental health problems, and hearing loss which is the common thread.
Why is cognitive decline impacted by hearing loss?
There is a link between hearing loss and cognitive decline, and though there’s no concrete proof that there’s a direct cause and effect relationship, experts are investigating some compelling clues. They think two main situations are responsible: the inability to socialize and your brain working overtime.
Countless studies show that isolation leads to depression and anxiety. And when people have hearing loss, they’re not as likely to interact socially with others. Many individuals find it difficult to go out to the movies or dinner because they can’t hear very well. Mental health issues can be the result of this path of solitude.
Studies have also shown that when somebody has hearing loss, the brain has to work extra hard to compensate for the reduced stimulation. Eventually, the part of the brain in charge of other tasks, like remembering, has to use some of its resources to help the part of the brain responsible for hearing. This overtaxes the brain and causes mental decline to set in much faster than if the brain was able to process sounds normally.
How to fight cognitive decline with hearing aids
Hearing aids are our first weapon against mental decline, mental health problems, and dementia. Studies show that people improved their cognitive functions and were at a lower risk of developing dementia when they used hearing aids to fight their hearing loss.
We would see fewer cases of cognitive decline and mental health problems if more people would just use their hearing aids. Between 15% and 30% of individuals who require hearing aids actually use them, which accounts for between 4.5 million and 9 million people. The World Health Organization estimates that there are almost 50 million people who suffer from some form of dementia. If hearing aids can decrease that number by even just a couple of million people, the quality of life for many individuals and families will be exponentially improved.
Are you ready to start hearing better – and remembering things without any trouble? Get on the path to better hearing and improved mental health by calling us for an appointment.